Last week we talked about establishing a baseline for evaluating new songs for inclusion in a worship set. Once the song has made it through the evaluation process, here’s some quick ideas for introducing a song to the congregation, with the end goal of allowing those in your church to worship without too much confusion or disconnection.
Strategically Place New Songs
I prefer to introduce new songs either as the second song, or the second-to-last song, depending on the type of song. For songs that are appropriate to start sets, placing the song second give those you’re leading a chance get settled in with a song they know before throwing something new at them. If you confuse them at the start of the set, they might not recover from it.
However, there’s a lot of songs that just don’t belong near the start of the set. I’ve heard a lot of worship leaders recommend placing those new songs at the end of the set. I’ve come to prefer placing them second-to-last. This allows those you are leading to end the set with something familiar; giving them a chance to re-connect before the set ends and not lead into the message with the discomfort of not knowing a song.
Introduce with Repetition
It’s common knowledge that we learn things by repetition. When introducing new songs, I employ two forms of repetition to aide in the learning process: song structure and set repetition.
The first time I ever lead a new song, I’ll build more repetition into the dong structure than I normally would, typically repeating the first verse and first chorus an extra time to increase familiarity with the melody and rhythm of those sections. If the song employs a bridge, I’ll run through repeat that as well. For any subsequent plays of the song, I’ll revert back to the normal structure.
I’ll also try to repeat the song for the next set I lead, and then keep it more frequent in the rotation for a few weeks.
Limit the Number of New Songs
I typically will limit the number of new songs in a set to one; I’ll push it to two occasionally, but only in very special cases. Anything more than that, and the people you’re leading are going to feel lost. Also, don’t introduce new songs in every set; give recently introduced songs a chance to breathe.
Feature New Songs in the Background Music
I saw a mention of this in a worship leading forum that I participate in, and it’s so simple that I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of it before. In the weeks prior to introducing a new song, put it in the pre-service background music rotation. While this isn’t a substitution for any of the other things listed above, it’s a great idea for raising familiarity.
Any ideas for introducing new songs? Drop them in the comments or hit me up on instagram. I’d love to hear your opinions on this!
As a heads up, I’m going to be taking next week off to catch up on some projects I’m working on form my church. See you on 8/8/18!